Traffic monitoring for revenue generation

TechDirt reports

Bob Dole writes “Illinois readers should pay special attention to an official newly-uncovered study that the UK government never wanted you to see. It shows that injury accidents increased 31 percent when speed cameras were used on freeways, and they increased 55 percent when used in freeway work zones. When the researchers who were commissioned to study the effects of cameras in construction zones came up with these results, the UK government did everything in its power to prevent the data from ever seeing the light of day. After all, they make about 700 million pounds (a billion US dollars) yearly from the machines. Illinois is about to implement its own work zone speed camera program, “to reduce accidents and save lives.” I’m sure the last thing on the mind of Illinois bureaucrats is all the $375 first offense, $1000 second offense citations it will generate.” Update: Some good points in the comments ripping this study apart. It is worth noting, by the way, that the source of it, TheNewspaper, is based on the idea of stopping redlight and speed cameras. It sounds like they’re misquoting this study and misreading it on purpose.

See the report Safety Performance of Traffic Management at Major Motorway Road Works (Transport Research Laboratories, 8/5/2005)

Speed is one of those topics that generates a lot of heat and very little light. The first sign you see on entering Nevada is usually a “double in construction zones” which refers to the harsh penalties for exceeding speed limits in the many construction zones even if there is no construction in process. The start of school also has a lot of press from police about the dangers of speeding in school zones and how many people they have nabbed.

The problem is that speed limits are rarely set according to the criteria that are supposed to be used to determine an appropriate limit and that there are often conditions, such as construction or congestion, that make the posted limit an absurdity. This means that enforcement is often arbitrary and biased by revenue considerations. That leads to an unsafe driver attitude towards enforcement and cynicism about authorities and safety.

Observe posted speed limits but also consider conditions and the fact that your rig, your RV, is not the typical vehicle considered for most traffic warning signs. Take the appropriate precautions, try to avoid irritating others, and drive safe.

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